Friday, February 5, 2010

Yogurt Making A La Stubborn

Yogurt-making has been the topic of discussion between a few of my friends recently. They're trying to master it, and having quite some trouble. Since I've been making yogurt for a while now, I started to email them my directions and I realized I might as well share with you all, too.

I must credit my dear friend, my yogurt-making teacher, for this one. She insists on remaining nameless, so from here out I will refer to her as Stubborn . :)

When Stubborn first explained it to me, it sounded a little complicated. But it's sooo easy, and much less expensive than buying yogurt in the store. No yogurt machine or crock pot necessary for this one. It makes a delicious plain yogurt, but you can also add a little maple syrup and about a teaspoon of vanilla to your jar when it's done...yum.

You will need some plain yogurt to start it the first time; I've had good luck with Stonyfield Farm and Hawthorne Valley yogurts.

Here's what to do:

1. Fill a Ball jar (or any desired container with a lid) with milk. I use milk from the local health food store--you want to avoid the ultra-pasteurized milk from the grocery store, it doesn't support the growth of the bacteria that makes your milk into yogurt. Whole milk/2%/1%, doesn't matter. Pour your milk into a sauce pan and heat it on low heat until temperature is 170•F.

2. Turn off the heat, and let the milk cool until the temperature is 120•F. While it cools, add 3-5 big spoonfuls of your current yogurt to your jar. (maybe about 1/4 cup). When the milk is cooled, skim the top and pour it into your prepared jar, put on the lid, and shake vigorously for about a minute.

3. Now get creative. You have to keep this jar warm for several hours--it usually takes at least about 5 hours for the yogurt to set. To keep the jar warm, I put my oven mitt over the top of the jar (it's just the right fit) to cover it to the bottom, then wrap in a towel and place in front of our gas fireplace (even when ti's off, the pilot light puts off a little heat). When the fireplace is off for the season, I wrap the jar in a towel, put it up the sleeve of hubby's down coat, and stick it someplace warm in the house.

4. Come back about 5 hours later (depending on what you use for starter), and put your now-yogurt in the fridge. I often do this before bed at night and put it in the fridge in the morning...longer than 5 hours but it works.

Sometimes it comes out a little runnier than others...when this happens, I just wrap the jar up in my hot pad, on the high setting, for an hour or so. Check it, stick it back in the heat if necessary.

I'm no Alton Brown, so I can't explain the science of it or troubleshoot any problems beyond that, but I've never really had any! Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I can't imagine a world without yogurt. And, I have found that the yogurt from the store is getting worse and worse. My favorite is plain Greek Yogurt with a spoonful of honey and some granola. But this, almost sounds better. i can't wait to try it. Wait for the phonecall, it'll come, I am full of questions.
    Loving your blog more than ever,
    P.S. I stole the recipe for peanut butter balls, posted them and can't stop making them! All my love to you and the family.
    Happy Superbowl Sunday!